Therese and I attended a holiday party for the band boosters last night. I was talking with a couple of the other dads about kids. The discussion eventually went down the path on how they want so much today when they enter into the real world on their own. It reminded me of a true story about "geek endorsements."
I was working at EDS as an Advanced Systems Engineer. I was with the company more than five years and had worked my way up the food chain a little bit. I took pride in how I managed my career and learned how to play the corporate game. My salary was decent for my experience, we lived in a nice house and we were raising three children.
Our management hired a kid directly out of college. He was green, very green, and I don't mean just technically. He did not even know how to write a check from his checkbook. He bought a new Camero along with the big insurance bill, signed a lease on a two bedroom apartment, bought a new stereo, a big TV, and some other luxuries. All of a sudden he realized he was over his head and complained to me how he could not live on US$36,000. First of all it was company policy not to discuss salary between employees. Second, he was making almost as much as I was and he was still wet behind the ears.
He asked me how I survived because I was raising a family. I told him it was endorsements. He did not understand. I explained it to him: Michael Jordan had the Nike shoe endorsements, the Hanes underwear endorsement, etc. I showed him my Motorola pager and told him I have the Motorola endorsement. My Docker pants, the Dockers endorsement. You see this ThinkPad laptop? Only a few of us are good enough to have the IBM endorsement. You can't get these right away. You have to get your career started and eventually get an agent.
About 10 minutes later I get a call from my manager asking me why I am messing with the new guy. Messing with him? I figured my manager knew all about geek endorsements. After all, how was a guy raising a family with 10 years of experience in software development suppose to make it in this world making a little more than this English major he just hired with no programming experience? I offered to set him up with my agent.
Geek endorsements - I still laugh recalling this unforgettable moment in my career.